The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) have begun consultations to examine new regulations for rogue lettings and management agents. The government will contemplate changing the law to ensure that all letting and management agents, across both the private rented and leasehold sectors, are qualified and regulated in order to practice.
The DCLG believes that the prospective changes to regulate the industry, will give well needed assurance to landlords, renters and leaseholders that their chosen agents are following rules and regulations. Research by consumer group Which? shows that dishonest practices led to as much as £700 million worth of service charges being paid each year.
Measures to be considered as part of the consultations include whether or not leaseholder tenants should have a greater involvement regarding the appointment of managing agents, and the ways in which the sector can increase transparency between leaseholders and tenants. The government will also consider whether a new independent regulatory body is needed. Currently, the property management sector is self-regulated via professional organisations, such as the Association of Residential Managing Agents (ARMA), ARLA Propertymark (formally Association of Residential Letting Agents), and the National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS). Communities Secretary Sajid Javid has said:
“This is supposed to be the age of the empowered consumer – yet in property management, we’re still living in the past. Today we are showing our determination to give power back to consumers so they have the service they expect and deserve, as part of my drive to deliver transparency and fairness for the growing number of renters and leaseholders.”
David Cox, Chief Executive, ARLA Propertymark and Mark Hayward, Chief Executive, NAEA Propertymark, commented:
“We are committed to ensuring consumers receive the best level of service when looking to buy, sell, rent or lease a property. Our members are required to have deposit and client money protection schemes in place and undertake regular training. However this doesn’t stop some rogue agents from giving the industry a bad name. Blanket regulation is the right approach if we are to give consumers the confidence they deserve and reassurance that they will be treated fairly, no matter which agent they use.”